Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
01.06.2014  
 

The Latest in Vineyard Scarecrows

Study tests "air dancers" as bird deterrents in vineyards and orchards

 
by Linda Jones McKee
 
 
“vineyard
 
Dr. Catherine Lindell is conducting a study to see whether inflatable “air dancers” prevent bird damage in vineyards.
Watkins Glen, N.Y.—Inflatable dancing tube men, a.k.a. “air dancers,” are a familiar sight across the country as advertising devices at auto sales lots and car washes. Now, these 20-foot-tall, fan-driven characters are being tested as “scare dancers” to drive away birds in vineyards and orchards in New York, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest.

Grapes are naturally sweet, not so that humans can make wine from them, but to attract birds and other animals to consume them and then disperse the grape seeds. Not surprisingly, as a result flocks of birds are a major problem in many vineyards across the country. Over the years, growers have tried numerous methods to minimize their damage to grapes and other fruit crops, including the following devices:

• Noise cannons may scare away birds initially, but neighbors often complain about the noise, and after a short period of time, the birds become used to the sound.

• Inflated plastic hawks, shiny balloons and flapping Mylar tape also have limited effect.

• Recorded predator and other bird distress calls may work occasionally, but birds soon realize there is no predator in sight.

• Bird netting may be more effective when applied correctly, but it is expensive, hard to install and even harder to remove, and difficult to work around. Nets are not totally bird-proof, and once inside, birds can damage or consume the grapes.

• High fencing may keep out hungry deer, but it does nothing to drive off flocks of birds.

Dr. Catherine Lindell, associate professor of zoology at Michigan State University, is coordinating a Specialty Crop Research Initiative Project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and titled “Limiting bird damage to fruit crops: Integrating economic, biological and consumer information to determine testable management strategies for the future.” The long-term goal of the study is “to provide producers with cost-effective, environmentally sustainable bird-management strategies.” Researchers at Michigan State University, Cornell University, Washington State University, Trinity Western University and Oregon State University are participating in the study. Their objectives are to:

1) quantify economic consequences of bird damage for producers, consumers and regional economies;

2) determine how bird damage varies within and across spatial scales (orchard, landscape, region);

3) identify amounts of damage attributable to specific bird species across crops and regions;

4) investigate consumer responses to management strategies and potential effects on marketing;

5) test management strategies for efficacy. We will use the information generated by addressing objectives 1-4 in a systems framework to determine management strategies to be tested in different crops and regions.

As part of that project, researchers from Cornell worked with four wineries in the Finger Lakes region this past summer to test the use of air dancers to reduce bird damage in vineyards. The inflatable dancers have flapping arms, reflective hair and “fingers,” bright colors and wide smiles. While the dancers can be found in heights ranging from 6 to 20 feet, the taller inflatables are preferable in a vineyard location so they can be seen above the vines. One potential problem for locating the air dancers in a vineyard is that the air blower used to inflate the dancer must have a power source.

Chris Stamp, winemaker at Lakewood Vineyards in Watkins Glen, N.Y., told Wines & Vines that while more testing will need to be done, he thinks the inflatable flapping tube man, known as “Wacky Wayne” at Lakewood, did his job. While the researchers want to see what impact the inflatables have on specific varieties of grapes, and if there is any influence of distance from the inflatable on bird damage, Stamp reported that “it’s my sense that it worked. It sure scared our horses to death!”

Ted Marks, owner of Atwater Estate Vineyards in Burdett, N.Y., has tried air cannons, prerecorded bird distress calls and shiny balloons. He reported that “Mr. Pinot” at Atwater “has done the best job of anything.”

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
June 2015 $602 million
5%
$8,101 million
6%
June 2014 $571 million $7,676 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
June 2015 $92 million
6%
$1,901 million
14%
June 2014 $87 million $1,669 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
June 2015 366
22%
261
19%
June 2014 300 220
     
 
MORE » Released on 07.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • July 31 - August 2
     
    West of West
     
  • August 1
     
    Urban Wine Xperience
     
  • August 7
     
    International Cold Climate Wine Competition
     
  • August 8
     
    Wind to Wine Festival
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
There are some wines from New Mexico are infused with pepper flavors. Also, The Wine...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Does Red Blotch Affect Wine? »
 
I have a grapevine in my polytunnel in east London which is showing signs of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Central Coast Wine Harvest Begins »
 
Here at Flying Goat Cellars in Lompoc we harvested last week the Bien Nacido Pinot...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
I'm curious as to how 'guest' defines wine and their rational for claiming this is...
Reader: Rob McDonald
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
This is not wine. This is aromatized drink. Like vermouth.
Reader: Guest
 
 


2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
   LEARN MORE »
 
   SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Wine Consultant
 Chicago, IL
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Living The Dream - Ltd...
 Tampa, FL
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Lead
 Woodinville, WA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Harvest Intern And Ass...
 Newberg, OR
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Part Time Tasting Room
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Area Sales Manager-Ora...
 Orange County, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Associate
 Sherwood, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Accounts Payable Speci...
 Napa, CA
Finance
 Office Manager / Compl...
 Healdsburg, CA
General Administration and
 Sales Representative
 Phoenix/Scottsdale & Northern Arizona, AZ
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.